Ok so let’s first understand the basic difference between modern and contemporary design, at least with respect to the world of architecture and interior designing. Yes, these words are used a lot and they have characteristics that do overlap. However, the styles differ and use different methods.
Let’s begin with Contemporary. When you call a style contemporary, it usually means a style that is in vogue at the moment. It is being created, used and designed as we speak. Contemporary designs are ever changing and highly dynamic. They are never really about a single style or design criteria. It is more about borrowing bits and pieces from different eras and styles to make what is currently in fashion.
Modern on the other hand however relates to a particular era, which to be exact is the 20th century. This also includes design cues dating back to early 1920s that then goes all the way to the current decade. However, it is usually used to refer to the machination age, which begins from 1920 till 1950.
A major reason why the two terms tend to be misunderstood is because the elements seen in modern design is actually popular at the very moment. So while, modern design is currently in sync with contemporary design, in two decades’ time, the contemporary design will change and no longer include modern design as its forefront.